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Below is a list of frequently asked questions.

Who is eligible to attend a National Guard Youth ChalleNGe Academy?


Students must be pursuing a high school diploma and between the ages of 15.5 and 18 years old.  The student must never have been convicted of a felony and have no legal actions pending (diversion programs and court designated worker programs may still attend), a willingness to be free of illegal drugs at time of enrollment and physically and mentally capable to complete the program

Does ChalleNGe accept cadets under the age of 16?


Cadets must be at least 15 1/2 years of age on the first day of the class and have to be 16 by the time of graduation day to be eligible for the program.  Your local ChalleNGe academy may have a solution for students under the age of 16.

Does ChalleNGe accept cadets over the age of 18?


No, cadets have to be no older than 18 years old but the the applicant can turn 19 years old before graduation day.

What is the cost to attend Youth ChalleNGe Academy?


The  Youth ChalleNGe Academy, as part of the National Guard Youth Challenge Program, is operated through a Cooperative Agreement between the National Guard Bureau and the State of Kentucky. This means it is funded by Federal and State dollars making tuition absolutely free to eligible youth. This investment in our youth has a return of 166% in social benefits. The Youth ChallenNGe Program was started in 1993 as a federal-state partnership to help high school dropouts improve their education level, life skills, and employment potential. The program, which is operated by the National Guard in partnership with state and local education agencies, has been extremely successful.

How does the program operate?


Youth ChalleNGe is a residential program that incorporates a highly structured quasi-military format emphasizing self discipline, personal responsibility, and positive motivation. Students, who are referred to as cadets while at the Academy, must meet military grooming standards, wear military type uniforms, and observe standard military customs and courtesies. Each class involves a 3-phase program that begins with a two week Acclimation phase where the goal is to identify those students that have the desire and discipline to complete the program. Students who successfully complete the Acclimation phase enter the 20-week Challenge phase where the emphasis is on the “Eight Core Component” curriculum. Cadets must show improvement in each component.


Eight Core Components:

  • Academic Excellence

  • Leadership and Followership

  • Life Coping Skills

  • Job Skills

  • Service to the Community

  • Responsible Citizenship

  • Health and Hygiene

  • Physical Fitness

After completing the Challenge phase, students begin a 52-week Post-Residential phase where each student works with an adult role model in a one-on-one mentoring relationship. The adult mentor provides the student advice, guidance, and support to help him/her continue the positive successes and direction achieved during the Challenge phase.

Is this a way for my child to join the Military?


No. The BCA Youth Academy is a military style alternative educational program. Students cannot be sentenced or court ordered to attend or is there any military obligation at all. Only 6% of our graduates ever join the Military. The decision to attend should be made by the applicant. Each year a diverse group of teenagers from all across the state, and from all walks of life successfully complete the program.

Can I force my child to attend the program?


No. This program is 100% voluntary. No parent, court, judge or probation officer can force the child to come. The child must make the decision to attend the program.

Is BCA a treatment facility?


No, BCA is a residential High School run through the Kentucky National Guard partnered with Eminence Dept. Of Education. 

BCA is not a therapeutic environment or a treatment facility.

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